September 2018

Braised Chicken


1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
6 chicken legs with thighs attached
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 tablespoons sliced flat-leaf parsley
1 chile de árbol, crumbled
2 teaspoons extra-virgin-olive oil
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup sliced fennel
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped San Marzano canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sherry
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Italian couscous (check recipe box)
Saffron onions (check recipe box)
Date relish (check recipe box)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Toast the cumin seeds in a small pan for a few minutes, until the seeds release their aroma and are lightly browned. Using a mortar and pestle, pound them coarsely. Repeat with the coriander seeds.

Place the chicken in a large bowl with the smashed garlic, thyme, parsley, crumbled chile, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Using your hands, toss the chicken and spices together to coat the chicken well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking, to allow it to come to room temperature. After 15 minutes, season the chicken on all sides with 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon salt and lots of pepper.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in the olive oil and wait 1 minute. Place the chicken legs, skin side down, in the pan, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. (If your pan is too small for all of the legs to fit, brown them in batches so you don't crowd them.) Every so often, swirl the oil and rendered fat around the pan. Turn the legs over, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook 2 minutes on the second side. Arrange the chicken (in one layer) in a braising dish. The chicken legs should just fit in the pan.

Pour off some of the fat and return the sauté pan to medium heat, Add the onion, fennel and bay leaves. Cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are lightly caramelized. Add the sherry vinegar, white wine, and sherry. Turn the heat up to high and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Add the cilantro and pour the broth and vegetables over the chicken, scrapping off any of the vegetables that have fallen on the chicken back into the liquid.

The liquid should no quite cover the chicken for doneness, remove the plastic and foil, being careful of the steam. Pierce a piece of the chicken with a paring knife. If the meat is done, it will yield easily and be tender but not quite falling off the bone.

Turn the oven up to 400 °F.

Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet, and return it to the oven to brown for about 10 minutes.

Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. If necessary, reduce the broth over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to thicken it slightly.

Serve with Italian Couscous, Saffron Onions and Date Relish. 

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